Andrew Norfolk, Chief Investigative Reporter
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Monday, August 28, 2017
The Most Insane Story You will Read This Week, Maybe This Year
Christian child forced into Muslim foster care
Concern for girl who ‘had cross removed and was encouraged to learn Arabic’The Times
Andrew Norfolk, Chief Investigative Reporter
A white Christian child was taken from her family and forced to live with a niqab-wearing foster carer in a home where she was allegedly encouraged to learn Arabic.
The five-year-old girl, a native English speaker, has spent the past six months in the care of two Muslim households in London. The foster placements were made, against the wishes of the girl’s family, by the scandal-ridden borough of Tower Hamlets.
The five-year-old girl, whose identity The Times is protecting, with her present foster carer. Her mother is said to be horrified by the alien cultural, religious and linguistic environment in which her daughter has spent the past six months
In confidential local authority reports seen by The Times, a social services supervisor describes the child sobbing and begging not to be returned to the foster carer’s home because “they don’t speak English”.
The reports state that the supervisor heard the girl, who at times was “very distressed”, claiming that the foster carer removed her necklace, which had a Christian cross, and also suggested that she should learn Arabic.
It is understood that the child told her mother that when she was given her favourite Italian food to take home, the foster carer would not allow her to eat it because the carbonara meal contained bacon.
More recently, the girl is said to have told her mother that “Christmas and Easter are stupid” and that “European women are stupid and alcoholic”.
In any decision regarding a foster placement, local authorities are required to give due consideration to the child’s “religious persuasion, racial origin and cultural and linguistic background”.
Tower Hamlets refused to respond to requests to explain why it had chosen to place a white, English-speaking Christian child with Muslim foster carers, including one household where she was unable to understand the language spoken by the family.
Her first carer, with whom the girl lived for four months, is believed to have worn a niqab outside the family home. The carer at her present foster placement wears a burka, fully concealing her face, when she accompanies the child in public.
The wearing of a niqab or burka generally indicates adherence to a conservative, Salafi-influenced interpretation of Islam that is often contemptuous of liberal western values.
To protect the child, The Times has chosen not to identify her or the unusual circumstances that led to her being taken into care earlier this year.
The girl’s mother is said by friends to have been horrified by the alien cultural, religious and linguistic environment in which her daughter has spent the past six months.
“This is a five-year-old white girl. She was born in this country, speaks English as her first language, loves football, holds a British passport and was christened in a church,” said a friend.
“She’s already suffered the huge trauma of being forcibly separated from her family. She needs surroundings in which she’ll feel secure and loved. Instead, she’s trapped in a world where everything feels foreign and unfamiliar. That’s really scary for a young child.”
In some areas of the country, a longstanding shortage of foster carers from ethnic-minority backgrounds frequently leads to non-white children being, of necessity, placed with white British foster parents. It is far less common for the reverse to take place.
Published fostering statistics for England show that of the 51,800 children who were in foster placements last year, 39,900 (77 per cent) were white, as were 52,500 (84 per cent) of the 62,400 approved foster carers.
The 2011 national census found that 80 per cent of England’s population was white British, falling to 45 per cent in London and 31 per cent in inner-city Tower Hamlets.
Across the capital last year, 39 per cent of fostered children and 42 per cent of foster carers were white. In Tower Hamlets, only 24 per cent of looked-after children were white.
No figures were published nationally or at local authority level to show how many children were placed with foster carers of a different ethnicity.
Tower Hamlets declined to reveal how many cross-cultural foster placements it was overseeing. The council also refused to say whether it had a shortage of white British foster carers. It cited confidentiality obligations and accused The Times of putting at risk the stability of a vulnerable child’s foster placement and schooling.
Ten years ago a council report warned of a need to “recruit foster carers from a range of backgrounds” in Tower Hamlets to enable it “to match carers and children, taking into account a number of factors including ethnicity, religion, language, culture and location”.
The under-represented communities that it sought to target in 2008 in adverts for new foster carers were “Caribbean, African, Vietnamese, Bangladeshi (for older children) and white”.
More recently the council has earned public notoriety. In 2015 it was stripped by the government of many of its powers after its former mayor, Lutfur Rahman, was found guilty of corrupt and illegal electoral practices.
In April this year an Ofsted inspection of the council found “widespread and serious failures in the services provided to children who need help and protection”.
Rating the children’s service as inadequate, it condemned an “entrenched culture of non-compliance with basic social work standards”.
The Department for Education said it was unable to comment on cases but a spokesman stressed that “when placing a child in a foster home, the local authority must ensure that the placement is the most appropriate way to safeguard the child and support their welfare. A child’s background is an important consideration in this decision.”
Unless you're a Salafist Muslim, in which case you are saving the child from the evils of western society and teaching her to believe an insane religion and how to become an invisible woman.
Is this craziness the consequence of having a Muslim majority on the council? Or of having a Muslim/Labour majority council? Whatever it is, there appears to be an unspoken agenda here that is extremely abusive to one little, white, Christian, British girl.
Tower Hamlets, London